The Mud and Stars Book Blog

thoughts from a girl who spends her days in other worlds…

My least favourite books of 2016

on December 29, 2016

I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about the books I love, but I rarely rant about the ones I don’t. So which books received my lowest ratings this year? And which books made me hopping mad? Let’s find out…

Side note: not all of these books were published in 2016.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (2.5 stars)


I didn’t hate this book by any means, but I was extremely underwhelmed by it. I didn’t care for the love triangle (quadrangle?), didn’t feel anything for the characters, and got annoyed by all the cliché tropes which made me feel like I was reading a mishmash of all the dystopian/fantasy books I’ve read before. There were aspects of the book I enjoyed (the concept, the action) but I didn’t rate this one highly and I’m unlikely to read the sequel.

The Dreamer by E.J. Mellow (2 stars)


Speaking of clichés, this book was so chock full of them that I gave myself eye-strain from all the exasperated rolling my poor peepers were forced to do.

giphy (57)

The romance in this book was of the instantaneous butterflies because of smouldery blue eyes variety, and it was just nauseatingly cringe. There was a love triangle, a super-special chosen one, and a cast of characters so bland I can’t even remember their names. Also, this book didn’t have a hope in hell of passing the Bechdel Test, because every conversation the main character had with her best friend revolved around men. EVERY SINGLE ONE.

Getting Him Back by K.A. Mitchell (2 stars)


I’m all about my M/M romance but I really didn’t like this book. The characters were poorly developed, and I really disliked the love interest; he spent most of the book being a moody obnoxious douche, and I didn’t understand what the protagonist saw in him, so I couldn’t buy into their chemistry whatsoever.

Beautiful Burn by Jamie McGuire (2 stars)


I’ve read all of Jamie McGuire’s Maddox Brothers books, and I’ve enjoyed all of them bar this one. I really hated the main character – she was selfish, stuck-up, whiney (in the poor-little-rich-girl kinda way), and just altogether toxic. She was mean to everyone for no apparent reason, and I couldn’t root for her in the slightest. The firefighter Maddox brother (who was of course rather swoon but whose name I can’t remember because he was basically the same as all the other Maddox brothers) could have done SO much better.


Trump Temptations by Elijah Daniel (unrated… I was too embarrassed to add this one to Goodreads)


Haha, okay, before you judge me on this one, OBVIOUSLY this book is a parody and it isn’t supposed to be good (OR sexy…eww).

giphy (16)

This is satirical erotic fiction about Donald Trump and a bell-boy at the Trump hotel in Hong Kong. Frankly it sounded hilarious, had a gazillion 5 star reviews on Goodreads, and I’m all for mocking that insidious Cheesy-Wotsit (the British version of a Cheeto) known as the President-elect of the USA. But, this book was pretty damn dreadful. It was about 10 pages long and by the author’s own admission, was written in a couple hours whilst drunk. It wasn’t very funny, but as I borrowed it via Amazon Prime, thankfully I didn’t waste actual money on it.

And finally, my Official Least Favourite Book of 2016


Admit it, you’re desperate to find out what could possibly be worse than Donald Trump erotica…


Ladies and Gentlemen, my Worst Book of 2016 was: Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers (1 star)


I’ve never rated a book 1 star before, but I made an exception for this terrible book because it made my blood boil. I’ve never felt such unadulterated rage whilst reading a book! This was recommended me by a counsellor employed by my company to help with my anxiety, but I don’t know what he was thinking. As it turned out, I didn’t end up picking it up until last month, and I’m SO glad I didn’t read this when I was at my lowest point earlier in the year because it was full of half-baked ideas and problematic advice which would have done me far more harm than good.

The book started out okay – it talked about the fact that everyone feels fear, and that we have to do things regardless of fear, rather than waiting for the fear to go away (because it never truly does). This made sense, but the rest of the book was so tough-love that I started off being shocked by its tone (super unhelpful to an anxiety and depression sufferer), and ended up wanting to throw it across the room. It was full of suggestions such as –

Your illness = your fault (yep, clearly I asked for this…)

If your friends are negative you should completely cut them out of your life because they’ll drag you down (because cutting people out of your life when they are suffering is not an asshole thing to do in the slightest…)

You’ll never be happy unless you are achieving your goals (because clearly all the scientific evidence that trying to live mindfully in the moment helps towards a feeling of contentment is a load of rubbish, and I should give this practice up now because I’m kidding myself unless I’m CEO of my own company.)

giphy (39)

And then the book played an extreme curveball, got all spiritual  and started saying things like –

You need to learn to say yes to your universe (she literally talks about how you should “embrace” EVERYTHING, including cancer)

Having a Pollyanna attitude and listening to positive affirmations (aka I AM POWERFUL AND I AM LOVING) for about five hours a day will stop you being depressed, because “the important issue is… Why be miserable when you can be happy?” (Oh man, I didn’t realise it was THAT easy! Better go out and buy CDs of said positive affirmations recorded by the author herself which she name-drops at every given opportunity!)

You’ll never be happy unless you connect with your “Higher Self” (helpfully she never really explains what your Higher Self actually is…)

Honestly, this book was offensive, unhelpful, and full of badly explained half-formed ideas with not a single drop of scientific evidence to back it up. The author even proclaims that SHE HAS NO PROOF THAT ANY OF HER METHODS WORK! She says this IN THE LAST CHAPTER! It would have been helpful if she’d told us this as the beginning of the book so I didn’t have to waste my time reading it.

As you can tell, I have a very strong hatred towards this book, and that, my friends, is why it beat Trump erotica to be my WORST BOOK OF 2016.

And that concludes my ranting. I hope you enjoyed this rare insight into the ragey side of my personality. Which were your least favourite books of 2016? And which books made your blood boil? Come rant with me, please! IT FEELS SO GOOD!


51 responses to “My least favourite books of 2016

  1. I’m glad someone feels similarly about Red Queen! I think I gave it 3 stars, it was just okay, but it seems like everyone else is adoring it! I’m sorry these books didn’t work out for you😕

    • mudandstars says:

      Completely agree – there was soooo much hype surrounding this book, that I was expecting it to be amazing. But it was just a bit meh really. Haha that’s 0kay, I read plenty of awesome books to make up for the few rubbish ones I read. I actually couldn’t come up with more than 5, so I did pretty well all in all 🙂 What were your least favourite books you read this year?

  2. Beth Jones says:

    Really interesting to see your thoughts of Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway! My nan preaches that book so much and recommended it for both me and my brother when we started college this year. Honestly, I’m so skeptical about that kind of thing that I never even picked it up – and it sounds like I should be glad I didn’t 😛

    • mudandstars says:

      Haha yeah, I’m generally skeptical too – I really only picked it up because the counselor recommended it. It does seem to have a lot of fans, and has worked for a lot of people, I guess it just wasn’t for me. I think the first part of it was good, and I can definitely see how the first couple chapters would help in situations you’re nervous about, like college, or public speaking, but I think it was a bit too unscientific to help with clinical anxiety/depression. But only the first bit was helpful – the rest of it was very woolly and repetitive with random spiritualism thrown in. Overall it was just a bit vague on facts and a bit tough love, and I felt it didn’t recognise that for someone with anxiety, it’s not as easy as ‘just doing it’ as there are so many thought patterns you need to change, that aren’t easily fixed by just repeating positive thoughts over and over in place of the negative ones.

      • Beth Jones says:

        That is SO TRUE! A lot of people (even professionals) seem to think it’s easy enough to overcome things by deep breathing and positive thinking. Sure, that might help some people! It might help a lot in certain situations…but there are a lot of different types of anxiety and it effects a lot of people in different ways.

      • mudandstars says:

        Absolutely agree! Breathing can help calm you down in the spur of the moment, but in the long term, it doesn’t fix all your problems! Some things work for some people, and not for others, because all types of anxiety are different and nobody experiences it in exactly the same way as everyone else.

      • Beth Jones says:

        YES! Ah, I agree with you so much! It’s nice to know I’m not alone. Sure, breathing techniques have helped me and do help me get through day-to-day…but it doesn’t make my anxiety go away.

  3. I get what you’re saying about Red Queen. I did think it was way better than Glass Sword, though. That one was so boring.

    • mudandstars says:

      Haha, oh dear! Glad to know I made the right decision not buying the sequel then 😛

      • The only part of it really worth reading was the ending. It was an amazing cliffhanger. It has me wanting to read the next book.

      • mudandstars says:

        When I first finished Red Queen, that’s kind of how I felt too – the ending made me want to read the sequel. But then I looked back on how I’d felt about the rest of the book, and felt I might get a bit bored with it. I might still give it a go at some point – I do love a good cliffhanger.

  4. 😂😂😂😂 I found this post so funny now I know what books to avoid

  5. I’m so happy to see I’m not alone in disliking Red Queen! I was not a fan at all.

    I’m sorry your coworker recommended such an offensive book to you 😦

    • mudandstars says:

      Absolutely, it was full of cliches, and the romance was dreadful! What was it that made you dislike it? It was such a hyped book and so many people loved it but I just found it ‘meh’. And thanks, it wasn’t actually my coworker but a counsellor from our Employee Assistance Programme – I can’t believe a counsellor would recommend such an unscientific and bullshitty book. But I think that the problem was, the counsellors in this service were more life-coachy than medical, so their approach was more along the lines of this book. Not very helpful!

  6. mhmcneill says:

    I may need to make a list like this…I read a few this year that bordered on God awful.

  7. Feel the Fear sounds terrible. I hate that whole “this is your fault” approach when it comes to MI. “Stop being so negative” is one of my biggest pet peeves, I wish it was that simple!! Like it’s my fault I have a messed up brain chemistry?? I understand how it may work for people who just occasionally shy or have slight hesitations, but that kind of approach to someone with MI can be so dangerous. I’m honestly mad just reading your thoughts!

    • mudandstars says:

      Absolutely! The sentiment of ‘it’s your responsibility to get better’ and ‘you just need to be more positive’ makes me furious! If it were that easy, we’d all be absolutely fine. And it just leads to us feeling worse, because it’s not like we’re not *trying* to get better, but sentences like that make us feel like we’re not trying hard enough, because it should be easy. And yes completely agree with what you said about it working for shy people/nervous people – I think there were parts of this book that could work for things like public speaking or exam nerves, but most of it is extremely unhelpful to anyone with an actual mental illness. I definitely suggest you avoid this book haha, I literally couldn’t sleep when I finished it because I was so angry!

  8. Georgiana Darcy says:

    OMG YES !!! Red Queen was so bad!

  9. […] I suppose I’m ending 2016 on a bit of a negative note. But after seeing a similar post from Jess @ The Mud and Stars Book Blog, I thought it might be interesting to come up with my own list of my least favorite books read this […]

  10. I think we need to increase the quality of our book club reads BECAUSE I WAS THERE FOR TWO OF THOSE BOOKS LOLOLOLOL

    • mudandstars says:

      Hahahaha so true! But I think both were my suggestions lol, so I need to up my game next time it’s my turn to pick!!

      • LOOOOOL noo, I wanted to read the dreamer as badly as you! I was only reluctant about Red Queen, but I had purchased it anyway before we met, haha! So… Not your fault at all!
        BY THE WAY, I just finished a court of thornes and roses!

      • mudandstars says:

        Hahaha, well in that case I’m happy to share the blame 😉 Oooh what did you think of ACOTAR? Are you going to read the sequel? It’s like a million times better! Although I did like ACOTAR, the last 100 pages especially when it got all dark and tense, I did find the beginning slow. But A Court of Mist and Fury is sooooo good.

      • Sooooooooooooo, I didn’t like ACOTAR =( I hated the main character and it was really hard to stick to the story thanks to that =((( I don’t plan on reading the next book, as the writing also didn’t strike me in a good way… UGHHH, SO HARD! I promise to think carefully about it! I do have the ebook, but I need to find motivation ahahahahha

      • mudandstars says:

        Aww I’m sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy it 😦 I didn’t love the main character loads, but I looooved Rhysand. I am obsessed with him. Which is why book 2 was so good for me hahaa 🙂

      • He’s cool alright, but I can’t understand his interest in Feyre, so I got upset with him too…? Hahahaha You’ll have to tell me how the series end someday =P

      • mudandstars says:

        Haha, that’s a fair point, I suppose. Feyre isn’t all that interesting. Although she does develop a lot in the second book. I will let you know how it all ends haha 🙂

      • I do believe in you, but developing doesn’t mean changing her core and I hate everything about the poor thing >.< Thank you for keeping me up to date with the series, hahaha! ❤ ❤ Love you!

      • mudandstars says:

        Hahaha that’s okay, I forgive you for not enjoying it 😛

      • that’s why you’re always the best, Jess ❤

  11. Great post!! Have to be honest trump temptations made me laugh out loud, so while I wouldn’t say enjoyed it… (Haha i don’t actually know how to end that sentence 😉 ) that feel the fear book just sounds really dumb to be honest- clearly it’s by someone that doesn’t really understand the nature of mental illness :/ I get what you mean about red Queen, even though I quite enjoyed it- I would’ve said the same but in just liked the twist at the end

    • mudandstars says:

      Thanks! Hahah, well there were a couple of bits in Trump Temptations which made me laugh. I think I was just expecting a bit more. Feel the Fear was incredibly dumb and you’re absolutely right – there was no understanding of mental illness whatsoever. I think to be honest when it talked about anxiety and depression, it meant ‘being a bit stressed’ and ‘being a bit down’ – it didn’t come from a medical angle at all. Which is why I’m really shocked that a counsellor would recommend it! And with Red Queen, I didn’t hate it, there were definitely parts of it I enjoyed, I think I was just overwhelmed on the whole. I also liked the twist at the end though… if I do ever pick up the next book, it’ll definitely be because of that! Have you read the second book?

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